The river crossing here is composed of 3 bridges in all, this main channel structure, the North Channel Bridge, and a short bridge over the railroad tracks on the Wisconsin side. This is the second highway bridge to stand in this spot, having replaced the 1891 structure. There once was two railroad bridges at Winona, both just downstream from this location.
Update—MN-DOT suddenly closed the Winona Main Channel Bridge on June 3, 2008, after it was discovered that the bridge had similar gusset plate problems as the I-35W and DeSoto Bridges. The gusset plates were only marginal to begin with, and showed extensive damage due to rust. It is not known how long the bridge will be closed, or if it can be repaired. The nearest river crossings are La Crosse and Wabasha.
Update—as of June 14, 2008, the Winona Main Channel Bridge is once again open to car and pickup truck traffic. Inspections were made to the bridge and gusset plates, and a new weight limit was set for the bridge. In addition, a series of repairs are needed. The result is that truck traffic, RVs, and trailers are banned from the bridge. Pedestrian and bicycle traffic is also banned since the sidewalks will be used to stage equipment for the bridge repairs. MN-DOT has scheduled this bridge to be replaced in 2014.
Update—the main repairs are now finished, and the bridge was opened for truck traffic on July 22, 2008, ten days ahead of schedule. At that time, there was still repair work to be completed, but the major structural repairs are complete. The remaining work will require the sidewalks to be closed.
Update—as of October 3, 2008, the last of the work on the Winona Main Channel Bridge is complete. The sidewalk and bicycle lanes are once again open for use.